Chapter Reflection Questions and Explorations

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  1. How does knowing and analyzing the trophic levels of a food chain help you understand to better take care of the dynamics of living things in an ecosystem of your region? Explain.

  2. When you take a trip through your region and you see erosion, especially on slopes of hillsides or mountains where rock is exposed, can you imagine how the soil and land was before the erosion? What do you think may have caused the erosion?

  3. Which of the 5 stages of the food system (production, transformation, distribution, consumption and disposal) has been most affected in your region? Do you know if there are projects to try to minimize the impacts? Provide details or examples of your answer.

  4. Do you think you can support any of the projects above with teachers, classmates, or the community?

  5. Do you know of any experience of diversified planting in systems in your country or region? Could you visit this place and talk to the farmers about the advantages and difficulties that they have faced?

  6. What are the main challenges that people encounter when trying to construct or begin a sustainable food system? What causes can you identify behind these resistances?

  7. In what way would you say that the virtue of courage is important in efforts to build a more sustainable food system?

  8. In the Food and Spirituality section there were several references to the role of art in expressing our inner relationship with food. Which of the art examples did you find most interesting? Why?

  9. Why do you think food is so often used in religious rituals around the world?


  1. The Soil Science Society of America has an interactive map that features state soil booklets developed and written by soil scientists to provide in-depth information on each state soil. If you live in the United States, check out the information on your state’s soil. If you do not live in the United States, what resources can you access to find out about your region’s soil?

  2. In the Food and Science section you learned important facts about the history of agriculture. For further information on this fascinating topic you can go to the powerpoint in ‘Lesson A: Exploring Our Food System’, a curricular resource from FoodSpan, an educational arm of Johns Hopkins University.

  3. Food fraud and adulteration is a major problem in the industrial food system. A major study of the phenomenon has recently been released by researchers in Brazil. To get a thorough understanding of this global problem, read the report “Economically Motivated Food Fraud and Adulteration in Brazil: Incidents and Alternatives to Minimize Occurrence”

  4. Andrew Youn thinks we can help millions of African Farmers grow more food. Watch his TED talk and analyze the pros and cons of his ideas.

  5. For a thorough 2018 report from the United Nations on world hunger, go to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.

  6. The Markula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University offers an informative lesson on Food and Agricultural Ethics. You can find it here.

  7. In the Food and Spirituality section mention was made of the Jewish schochet, the an who butchers animals according to Kashrut Laws. The actual procedures that a schochet follows in the ritual sacrifice (or shechita) are fascinating in their details and rationale. Read this description of the shechita process. The comparison between the Jewish shechita and the Muslim ritual slaughtering process (or dhabīhah) is likewise fascinating for what it teaches about the spiritual values both religions find in food. Read this description of the dhabīhah.